Dear Addi

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dear "Addi" I'm about to be excommunicated and I'm scared!

(His story)

Hey friends!  I just got another question from a good brother that is facing his church court in a few weeks.  When I wrote him back, I decided that this might make a good "Dear Addi" post.  It is in three parts.  Hope this helps anyone out there going through the same process or the spouse that is watching  her loved one go through the process.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Afraid to Heal

(her story)

It's been almost eight months.  Eight months since my world fundamentally changed for better and for worse.  We have been through so much in eight excommunication, the loss of blessings, the gaining of other blessings that we hadn't anticipated, hours and hours of painful conversation, a re-routing of our life's path, a few separations (vacations apart due to work), happy reunions, tears and laughter.  I knew going into this year that it was going to be an up and down one and I was right.   I wake up each morning and wonder what I will be feeling.

I feel like I am at a decision point right now in my life.  I CANNOT go back and change what has been done.  I can't erase the lies.  I can't erase the affairs.  I can't somehow magically erase my husband's mind of the intimate encounters that were not with me.  I wish I could erase my mind of those self created images but I seem to be unable to.  I can't go back and do those 17 years over again without the secret addiction.  Though I wish I could, I can't.  So, where do I go from here?

I am tired folks!  I am tired of waking up with images and thoughts that hurt me to the very core.  I am tired of crying out to my Heavenly Father to just "take me Home."  I am tired of hurting my husband with the same questions, hoping that somehow, this time, his answers will make me feel better.  I am tired of wondering how, if he really did love me, he could do this to me.  I am tired.  I gave a talk yesterday in church and I used something that Job said.  He said, "My soul is weary of my life."  I feel that way.  Though my body is healthy and strong, my spirit is tired and wounded.  It is weary.  Sometimes I feel like if I see one more raunchy billboard or hear one more vile swear word or see one more sex scene on TV, that my soul will shrivel up and die.

But, I can't leave.  I can't go "home."  I have a husband that is really working hard to make things up to our family and restore what's been lost.  I have innocent children that didn't ask for any of this and deserve a happy, two parent home.  In my good moments, I feel like I have a mission to perform still on this earth.  Though returning to my heavenly home sounds so wonderful, I can't.

So, knowing that I have many, many more years here on this earth, can I really allow myself to feel this miserable for the rest of them?  Why can't I just allow myself to heal and let go?  I plead every day with the Lord to just remove the hurt.  That is the only thing that I can change about the situation.  I can't remove the acts and the memories but I can change how I feel about them.  That is hard to do and quite frankly, I think I'm afraid to do it.

What if he betrays me again?  What if he comes to me someday and tells me that he has never rid himself of this addiction but has just hid it from me better? What if, what if...what if?  If the wound is still opened and bleeding, then another wound won't hurt so bad right?  If my wounds are all healed and just scar tissue remains, to reopen those wounds with further betrayal will destroy me.  So, why not leave the wounds open, just in case?

The problem with that way of thinking is that it makes me continuously miserable.  It makes my children miserable because mom's not happy.  It makes my husband miserable because he hurts when I hurt.  None of us can truly heal unless I can.  So I NEED to.  I need to stop allowing my thoughts to run wild.  I need to stop deliberately creating visions of my husband with his affair partners.  I need to stop reliving the past and start looking to the future.  I need to stop feeling inadequate when my husband and I are intimate.  I need to stop trying to make myself something that I am not to try and "compete" with his affair partner.  I need to continue to ask the Lord to help the pain lesson.  I need to trust that even if this all happens again (which it probably won't), that the Lord will take care of me.  I need to remember that the Lord wants my family to be eternal again just as much as I do.  I need to trust that He is watching over us and is helping.  There is so much I need to let go of.

I know....all of that is easier said than done.  When you are sorting through a trauma that is the magnitude of the one that I have been given, it is hard.  I find myself wanting to feel the pain of each and every act.  I want the details of each and every act.  I want his thoughts about each and every act.  Though that may be normal, I am finding that it is not helpful.  It just prolongs my pain.  If I can't go back in time and change it, why obsess about it?  I need to allow myself to feel better.  I am tired of hurting.  I am tired of the ache.  So, here I eight months post DDay...finally deciding that it is time to heal.  I know it is going to take time.  I know that healing will not be automatic or painless but I need to start.  I need to let those gaping wounds finally close.  I need to stop the bleeding.  I'll always have scars.  I know that.  But, thankfully, scars don't usually continue to hurt.  I can live with scars.

If any of you women that are further along in this process than I am have any advice as to how to finally allow yourself to heal, please comment.  I am not sure how to go about it, I just know that I need to!  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Isn't it about "Time"?

It has been quite a while since I have posted anything. Life has become all consuming as of late. In my work, summers are always the busiest time of year. As a result, my blogging activities have become nonexistent. So, I felt that I should jump in with a quick post and an update on how I, and more importantly, my wife and family are doing.

We are now working on 8 months since "D" day. I have never been more focused on anything in my life. Being busy helps.  Down time can be dangerous for an addict. It has also been 8 months of sobriety. That is something I am very proud of. In the past 8 months I have made my weekly sojourn to the Addiction recovery program provided by the LDS church. About an hour north of where we live, there is a class specifically geared to addicts of Pornography. So, once a week we drive an hour north and an hour back to be a part of a truly inspired program.  Going to this class recharges me.

In our last visit to the stake president we were told that he sees no reason why we wouldn't be able to reconvene a council at exactly 1 year. For this I am grateful.  I won't go into all the reasons for my gratitude, as I plan to write a post soon about life as an excommunicated member but, let me simply say.... the next 4 months can not pass quickly enough.

We have spent a lot of time talking about the passage of time.  We often say time heals. We watch the clock wishing it would move faster. Sometimes we just want time to leap forward. We have been promised healing with the passage of time and we anxiously wait for it to finally arrive.  Emotions and feelings are still raw. We are each fighting different battles. Mine for the longest time has been to fight the flashes of thought or memories or temptations. On this front I can say that time has helped them to greatly subside They have been replaced with flashes of guilt and shame and anger at myself. It is a different kind of pain and a different kind of guilt then before. It is a heavy hurting guilt. A guilt for what i have done to my wife. It is the guilt of my own betrayal.

Somehow I have managed to lock it down inside when it comes up. I prefer feeling nothing to feeling the shame from my past. I am fairly good at blocking out those shameful feelings but the question I have now is.... should I? My wife sometimes feels hurt because her pain is still so present, still so magnified and her flashes of thoughts are dangerously vivid. The betrayal is so real to her and then, she sees me and I seem to be simply taking it in stride.  I appear to be handling it with ease and it causes her to question if I am really hurting at all.

I am learning that I need to allow myself to lift the wall I have built and to actually feel all the hurt and shame... and not just in my secret private moments, but in her presence.  I need her to see that I am battling hard and that the pain is real for me too.  Mine is the pain of one who wishes he had never caused any of this hurt while hers is the pain of one who is dealing with the most intimate betrayal of her life.

This is a really hard process.....

However, we are both dedicated to it  and despite everything, I feel closer to my wife, my children, and my Savior than ever before.  I hate the way we got to where we are.  I hate to see her suffer  and I hate being the cause of her pain but I know that it's only hottest in the middle of the fire.  I know that the refining can't happen if I am sitting on the side line and so, through the fire we walk hand in hand.

I also know that there is a point during the process where if you leave the precious metal in the fire too long, it begins to lose value. There is a perfect point when the master smelter knows that the precious metal has reached the exact heat needed and then, He pulls it out of the fire, leaving it pure... and refined.  He will not ask us to suffer more than is necessary and so, with hope and faith,  we press forward into the heat.

Speaking of time, we have decide to take the terms that are reference to time and change them. We all know that BC typically means  "Before Christ,"  and AD stands for "Anno Domini." (The year of our Lord) We have decided to use those same Abbreviations in relation to my Addiction and recovery.  BC still stands for, "Before Christ."  It does so because I was living my life without him.  I had no relationship with him. I was lost and wandering and seeking the Shepherd  but I placed a chasm of sin and selfishness between us. If I'm being truly honest, I went out of my way to avoid Him  for I knew I could never come to Him in sincerity... not with all the sin I was carrying and hiding.

AD Stands for "After Deliverance" because that is what happened when I finally turned it all over to Him. My confession and repentance has helped me have a true change of heart and opened the door for my Rescuer and Deliverer to step inside.  He has shown me that healing can happen. He has helped me see that the lies and despair and loss that Satan threw in my face day after day  were nothing but half truths and manipulation.  He has set me free from my self imposed chains.

So again, I return to time. It is our friend as well as our enemy.  I have wasted so much time on worthless damaging habits. Idle time can truly be a curse.  Time wasted in secrecy and deceit only serve to tighten the chains with which we are bound. However, the successful passage of time can be our hope and strength. Time spent driving 2 hours each week for support in a 12 step group, time spent helping my family to heal, or time spent inviting others to come unto Christ help to keep the conduit to the spirit open and accessible. Time is of course one of the sacrifices that he requires from us.  But if time spent in the refiner's fire as an offering, can help me and my family find healing and strength, than it is a sacrifice that we are willing to give. Of course the blessing that comes... the true reward.... is that we will eventually come to a place that is no longer defined by time at all but simply referred to as eternity. That is our focus. That is our Goal.